by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
In our search for under-the-radar fantasy potential we land on the Rays’ Ryan Brett. A player that may not have the raw tools to get scouts or fantasy owners excited, sometimes the sum is more than the individual parts.
Brett spent all of 2014 at Double-A where he hit .303 with 8 HR, 42 RBI, 64 R and 26 SB. Nothing there stands out for the now 23-year old, but what if we were to tell you that he could develop into a 10/30 second baseman? Is that something that would interest you?
Brett had 25 doubles and 6 triples last season, showing a little bit more pop than just his home run number represents (though not much). Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 adds this, though:
“While his swing is contact-oriented, he does have enough strength and bat speed to project to hit 8 to 10 home runs once he arrives in the big leagues.”
Last years 8 HR came in 422 AB. With 500+ it’s fair to think that he can jump into the 10-12 HR range, even as he moves up as he should gain a little more strength and experience.
His speed is his carrying tool, with 47 SB at Single-A in 2012 and 25 in 315 AB across two levels in 2013. That’s not to argue that he has blazing speed, but there’s 30+ SB potential if given the opportunity.
The question is going to be if that opportunity is there. While he makes great contact at the plate (14.0% strikeout since ’11, 16.0% last season), he doesn’t do a great job of drawing walks. Last season he posted a 5.2% walk rate, so he may profile better as a #2 hitter (where he will be asked to move runners along) or operate as a #9 hitter. Regardless, either spot would hurt his appeal at least a little bit.
He also hasn’t shown significant line drive ability. Last season he posted a 14.6% line drive rate (league average was 17.0%), so his .350 BABIP is questionable at best. That puts his batting average in doubt as well, though with his speed and contact rate he shouldn’t hurt you. It’s just that .270-.280 is much more likely than .300.
We also have to note that Brett was suspended 50 games for a failed drug test back in 2012. According to Brett’s agents statement on the incident (courtesy of Minor League Ball and you can read the full statement here):
“Ryan Brett, a top minor league prospect with the Tampa Bay Rays, who yesterday was suspended 50 games by MLB after a drug test showed he tested positive for methamphetamine and an amphetamine, has indicated the test results were the result of a single occurrence of taking an energy pill, which he thought was caffeine.”
Regardless, potential 10/30 middle infielders with solid average ability don’t grow on trees. It makes Brett an ideal under-the-radar gamble to take if you have a spot on your minor league roster to fill.
Sources – Minor League Central, Prospect 361, Minor League Ball
Make sure to check out all of our 2015 rankings:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40
- Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40
- Relief Pitchers
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